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chance to reclaim the momentum from president obama. both candidates will be squaring off against debate stand-ins, 2004 presidential candidate john kerry will stand in in the role of mitt romney and ohio senator rob portman will star as president obama. he also did it in john mccain's 2008 campaign. ahead of next week's debates, both sides have been lowering expectations. >> the president is, obviously, a very eloquent, gifted speaker. he'll do just fine. >> mitt romney has an advantage because he's been through 20 debates in the primaries oefrt the last year. >> barack obama is a very effective debater. >> we know governor romney is practicing for months. i think the invasion of normandy took less preparation than he's putting into the debates. >> i'm joined by the president of progress and former obama white house adviser and also with us is robert trainum. nera, you helped with hillary clinton's debate preps and you worked robert with with rick santorum and president bush. let's get to the heart of it, robert. both sides lowering expectations, but realistically how important is this
and obama. nonetheless, he has to make a really strong stand in the first debate. this is probably the most important debate for him at this point in the campaign. >> i don't want to let that statement about polls go unanswered. eugene robinson's piece today is about what he calls the new conspiracy. republicans diluted that there are skewed polls. paul ryan was the latest one to join on the bandwagon last night talking about wisconsin. >> i don't believe that particular poll. i won't get into the methodologies about it. >> they weren't talking about a specific poll in na statement, which sounds like it doesn't matter to him which poll it is but it's tainted. what's your take on this? we've heard it a lot over the last 48 hours. >> look at all the polls. if you go to realclearpolitics.com, for instance, in every poll in every swing state the president is a hit, it's hard to find a poll in a swing state where romney is leading. if you look at the data right now, we're looking at an election that looks more like 2008 than 2004. the president is ahead in almost every swing state, whether you l
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